Skip to main content

Full text of "Chicago Tribune [1991-09-22]"

See other formats

Chicago Tribune  Sunday, September 22, 1991 
Section 14  Page 11 

New $100 bills coming, but hang on to your old ones, too 

By Roger Boye 

Today's column answers 
questions from readers 
about coins and paper 

Q-I'm told that the govern-
ment is making new $100 bills 
and will recall the money we now 
use. When will that happen? Will 
the old bills become worthless? 
A.S., Chicago
A-Uncle Sam has added two 
anti-counterfeiting devices to 
$100 notes, microprinting around 
the center portrait and a po-
lyester thread embedded into the 
paper and running vertically on 
the left side. The enhancements 
are expected to make currency 
more difficult to duplicate accu-
rately on color copiers and even-
tually will be added to bills of 
other denominations, except pos-
sibly $1 Federal Reserve notes. 

But the money now in use 
won't be recalled. Instead, it will 
be replaced as it wears out. The 
new bills of "series 1990" should 
begin appearing in circulation by 
year's end. 

Q-How much does a dealer 
make on the typical coin sale? If 
a dealer sells me a coin for $50, 
how much would he pay to buy 
it back? T.G., Park Ridge 

A-A dealer's profit will vary 
with the coin type and condition, 
general market environment and 
a myriad of other factors. In gen-
eral, dealers buy collectible coins 
for 50 to 70 percent of retail. In 
other words, a dealer might pay 
you up to $35 for a coin that 
sells for $50. 

The profit usually is much less 
on bullion items, including com-
mon-date silver dimes, quarters 
and halves, silver bars and Amer-
ican Eagle gold and silver coins. 
Often on such items, the 
wholesale ("buy") price is 90 to 
98 percent of retail. 

Q-Do you know of anyone 
who buys old "wheat pennies"? 
How much would I get? I saved 
12,000 of them, but my wife 
wants to reclaim the storage 
space. F.B., Downers Grove 

A-Dozens of dealers buy Lin-
coln cents made in 1958 or earli-
er, the so-called "wheat pennies" 
because two ears of wheat are de-
picted on the back side. Read the 
"coins wanted" classifieds in 
Coin World or other hobby 
publications, or call some local 
shops that advertise in the Yel-
low Pages. 

The price you'll get will depend 
on the dates, mint mark and con-
dition of your coins. One of the 
country's largest dealers in 
"wheat cents," Virg Marshall III 
of Wymore, Neb., pays a mini-
mum of 70 cents per roll (50 
coins) for common-date wheat 
cents in at least "good condi-
tion." Prices go up to $5.75 a 
roll for the less common dates, 
such as the 1938-S. 

Q -What's the silver-to-cash 
ratio for silver dimes and quar-
ters? Is there an easy way to re-
member the numbers? V.C., Chicago 

A-Each $1 face value of U.S. 
silver coins made in 1964 or ear-
lier contain .72 of an ounce of 
silver. Ten silver dimes, four sil-
ver quarters, two quarters and a 
half, or any combination that to-
tals $1 holds almost three-quarters of an 
ounce of silver. When the metal 
sells for $4 an ounce, that $1 in 
coinage is worth nearly $3. 


President Bush is depicted on a 
new bronze medal made by the 
federal government, part of an 
on-going series honoring the pre-
sidents. A three-inch medal costs 
$21 and a 1 5/16-inch medal-- 
which has a much smaller surface 
area--costs $1.25. To order, send 
a check or money order to the 
United States Mint, Order Pro-
cessing Branch, 10001 Aerospace 
Drive, Lanham, Md. 20706.